Amazonian Tribe Turns Missionary Athiest


Twila
#1
How an Amazonian tribe turned a missionary into an atheist

Quote:

A RIVETING and hugely satisfying report on BBC Radio 4 today tells the story of a missionary who was charged by an American missionary group with taking the Gospel to the little understood Pirahăs tribe in the Amazon – only to realise how ridiculous his faith in Christianity was.

Daniel Everett, 57, a linguist in the Departmental Chair of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Illinois State University, told presenter John McCarthy on the Excess Baggage programme, that he had travelled to the Amazon in the 70s to bring the tribe “the joy of faith” only to discover that they were a deeply contented people. In fact they seemed far better contented than he was.

Tribe members asked the missionary whether he had seen or experienced any of the things he was telling them about. He had to admit that he hadn’t; that he was simply passing things onto them that were told to him by people who hadn’t seen or experienced them either.

The Pirahăs, he said, “believed that the world was as it had always been, and that there was no supreme deity”. Furthermore they had no creation myths in their culture. In short, here was a people who were more than happy to live their lives “without God, religion or any political authority”.

Despite Everett translating the Book of Luke into Pirahă and reading it to tribe members, the Pirahăs sensibly resisted all his attempts to convert them.

According to a report in the New Yorker:

His zeal soon dissipated … Convinced that the Pirahă assigned no spiritual meaning to the Bible, Everett finally admitted that he did not, either. He declared himself an atheist …

According to Wikipedia, Everett “was having serious doubts by 1982, and had lost all faith by 1985 after having spent a year at MIT. He would not tell anyone about his atheism for another 19 years; when he finally did, his marriage ended in divorce and two of his three children broke off all contact.”

Everett’s account of his life among the Pirahăs is told in his book Don’t Sleep There are Snakes. BBC Radio 4 has chosen it as its Book of The Week, and it will be broadcast from Monday, November 17, 2008 ( weekdays 9.45am -10.00am, repeated 00.30-00.45am.)

The book concludes with Everett saying:

The Pirahăs have shown me that there is dignity and deep satisfaction in facing life and death without the comforts of heaven or the fear of hell, and of sailing towards the great abyss with a smile.

And they have shown me that for years I held many of my beliefs without warrant. I have learned these things from the Pirahăs, and I will be grateful to them for as long as I live.

Wow, the part about his divorce and having contact with 2 of his children broken is disturbing...
 
Spade
#2
Perhaps the Pirahăs tribe will see fit to send "missionaries" here. That would be really "satisfying"!

I personally (and you know I am biased) think we need fewer "holy book" pounders not more!
 
Twila
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

Perhaps the Pirahăs tribe will see fit to send "missionaries" here. That would be really "satisfying"!

I personally (and you know I am biased) think we need fewer "holy book" pounders not more!


ROFLMAO! that would be AWESOME...Pirahas missionaries...
 
MHz
#4
"facing life and death without the comforts of heaven or the fear of hell, and of sailing towards the great abyss with a smile"

Kinda makes you (not) want to know what sort of doctrine he was trying to sell them. If his own family ditched him (were allowed to) then the rest of his doctrine was probably just as messed up.
 
Cliffy
#5
It would be difficult for the Pirahăs to send missionaries. People living a natural life in the jungle probably don't have that much discretionary cash to blow on people without a clue. If the Pagans and atheists on here can't make a dent in the anally retentive religious, then I doubt some jungle dweller would have much more success.
 
Cliffy
#6
Some church organizations will (strongly) recommend the abandonment of any family member that wakes up to the fallacy of that organization. I have personally witnessed that happen in the JW organization to several families, also in the Pentecostal and Alliance churches. In this man's case I think it was the pressure of the organization that broke up this family. So much for love and understanding and the destructive nature of religion.
 
darkbeaver
#7
That's a nice little inspirational story.
 
MHz
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

Some church organizations will (strongly) recommend the abandonment of any family member that wakes up to the fallacy of that organization. I have personally witnessed that happen in the JW organization to several families, also in the Pentecostal and Alliance churches. In this man's case I think it was the pressure of the organization that broke up this family. So much for love and understanding and the destructive nature of religion.

Clearly that is premature the 70x7 that is allowed before you can abandon somebody. See what I said, it is good to ditch a Church that is based on false doctrine. I wonder if he has forgiven them? Which would mean he hasn't really abandoned God just moves past the bullship round.

Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver View Post

That's a nice little inspirational story.

Thank you, really most unexpected but accepted none the less.

See how easy it is to mess with the facts.
 
bill barilko
#9
The developing world is lousy with dimwit missionaries-this story gives me some hope.
 
Scott Free
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Twila View Post

Wow, the part about his divorce and having contact with 2 of his children broken is disturbing...

Not really. My folks threatened to kick me out of the house when I was a teenager if I wasn't religious. Even now they don't know the extent of my disdain for religion. If I were to come right out and tell them I probably wouldn't have a family anymore.
 
Twila
#11
Quote:

My folks threatened to kick me out of the house when I was a teenager if I wasn't religious. Even now they don't know the extent of my disdain for religion. If I were to come right out and tell them I probably wouldn't have a family anymore

This is soooo sad. Tolerance, understanding and love are the cornerstones of religion. Followers seem to have a great deal of difficulty following what they're taught and what they preach.
 
Spade
#12
What missionaries don't preach!
 
Tyr
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

Perhaps the Pirahăs tribe will see fit to send "missionaries" here. That would be really "satisfying"!

I personally (and you know I am biased) think we need fewer "holy book" pounders not more!

Perhaps the Pirahăs tribe will see fit to send "missionaries" here.

You'd love that wouldn't you... You just want to "show off" your fluency in Pirahă
 
MHz
#14
Pirahăese or Pirahăi
 
Tyr
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

Pirahăese or Pirahăi

Pirahăese

Jeez.... Ask Spade. He's the linguist
 
Spade
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Tyr View Post

Pirahăese

Jeez.... Ask Spade. He's the linguist

Hey, someone being mean to old Spade?
 
Tyr
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

Hey, someone being mean to old Spade?

44 minutes ago

Quoting Spade Perhaps the Pirahăs tribe will see fit to send "missionaries" here. That would be really "satisfying"!

I personally (and you know I am biased) think we need fewer "holy book" pounders not more!



Perhaps the Pirahăs tribe will see fit to send "missionaries" here.

You'd love that wouldn't you... You just want to "show off" your fluency in Pirahă
 
Spade
#18
Sorry, lucid moments are rarer today after the big snow!
 
Tyr
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Spade View Post

Sorry, lucid moments are rarer today after the big snow!


Pirahăese being a "chick magnet", I'm sure you were just being "prepared" for the opportunity in case it comes along
 
Scott Free
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by Twila View Post

Tolerance, understanding and love are the cornerstones of religion.

Since when?

The corner stone of religion is wish thinking, violence and coercion.
 
Cannuck
#21
The voice of atheism since 1881


Who said Atheism isn't a religion in it's own right.
 
Socrates the Greek
#22
Only 350 of them, the Amazon jungle is so unique and complex.

Piraha People and Language - Amazon Tribe of Brazil - Crystalinks
 
Scott Free
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

The voice of atheism since 1881


Who said Atheism isn't a religion in it's own right.

Fail.

Go back and read it again.
 
Dexter Sinister
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

Who said Atheism isn't a religion in it's own right.

All the smartest, hippest, coolest people have said that.
 
Cannuck
#25
As Bill James said, "A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices."
 
Vereya
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Twila View Post

Wow, the part about his divorce and having contact with 2 of his children broken is disturbing...

I guess his children have a right to feel angry. Just imagine it - your own father teaches you one thing for all of your formative years. Since he was a missionary, he probably was strict about it. I have personally encountered pastors who forbade their children to read books, as all the books but the Bible were written by Satan, in their opinion. And there were lots of other restrictions. An enforced lifestyle, that probably influenced their adult lives. And then your Daddy just steps up, and says that he doesn't really believe all that he had taught you. What would you feel about it?
 
Cliffy
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by Tyr View Post

Pirahăese

Jeez.... Ask Spade. He's the linguist

Yes, but is he a cunning linguist?
 
Twila
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Vereya View Post

I guess his children have a right to feel angry. Just imagine it - your own father teaches you one thing for all of your formative years. Since he was a missionary, he probably was strict about it. I have personally encountered pastors who forbade their children to read books, as all the books but the Bible were written by Satan, in their opinion. And there were lots of other restrictions. An enforced lifestyle, that probably influenced their adult lives. And then your Daddy just steps up, and says that he doesn't really believe all that he had taught you. What would you feel about it?


Assuming he was an asshole bible thumping disciplinarian , then I would be angry, but wouldn't cut off ties to him because he'd "seen the light" I'd have cut ties off long before this.

If he did the best he could with what he had and he was honest in telling me how he'd come upon new knowledge that has led him to believe differently, then I'd practice what had been preached to me and what I'd most likely be preaching to others about and forgive. I'm assuming this guy is this type of person since if he was the asshole type nothing would change his mind about his version of right.


Now if it was my own true father I'd be stumped. His philosophy on religion was that it was a crutch for those afraid of death.
Last edited by Twila; Mar 6th, 2009 at 12:13 PM..
 
Spade
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

Yes, but is he a cunning linguist?

Great pun! Good way to get your licks in this morning!
 

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